National University of Ireland Maynooth - Claiming Our Future seminar 6th October 2010
In attendance: Applied Social studies Students.
Main points from discussion groups on the Choices document.
1. Pursue economic development that serves people.
Develop the social and economic infrastructure to serve the interests of the whole population.
- Infrastructure as it stands doesn’t work. Needs to be restructured, overhauled and stabilised
- Need to make allowances for other factors for change e.g. Job creation, renewable energy.
- Emphasis on disadvantaged communities with an emphasis on equality.
- Think outside of the box.
- Look at the existing skills that people have individually and collectively.
- Sustainability and growth.
- Consultative process with all the stakeholders
- How will policies be monitored?
- How will policies be implemented?
- Gap between policies and the people.
2. A more ambitious response to environmental challenges.
Implement a renewed sustainable development strategy that caps resource use and emissions and that secures investment for sustainable development.
- National audit of natural and renewable resources and how they can be utilised.
- Use the open method of co-ordination.
- Educational program – enforcing green schools, community and youth work.
- Re-claiming and using our natural resources. Trees, oil and gas, fish, wind farming.
- Penalty system – not necessarily monetary or court appearance. Possibly linked to tax credits, social welfare etc. the infrastructure must be in place first.
- Policy implementation
- The implementation of a global policy for environmental challenges.
3. Enhanced economic, social and cultural participation.
Reduce relative poverty and eliminate consistent poverty.
- Labour and education links into reducing poverty.
- Bridging the gap between rich and the poor.
- Focus our energy into ourselves and our relative poverty to form a more equal, social and cultural society.
- Empowerment of people: giving them the options to pull themselves out of poverty.
- Increase moral.
- Raising the people on the bottom raises everyone in society.
- Highlighting our own poverty within Ireland.
- Break down social barriers thus creating solidarity.
- Keep people from the poverty margin.
- Flaw to include cultural and economic in this point. Both merit their own point.
- Equal distribution of resources.
- Make Ireland take a good look at itself.
4. Public sector renewal.
Develop new approaches to the front line delivery of public services.
- Wasted funds and time.
- Lack of communication and participation.
- Lack of leadership.
- Lack of accountability and transparency.
- Education, informal, formal.
- Very broad spectrum of policies.
- Statements not policies.
- Need to be more specific. Too broadly sketched.
- How do we build the pressure within civil society?
5. Reformed taxation and income policies.
Achieve greater income equality through wage, tax and income policies that ensure maximum income is not more than a specific multiple of the minimum income and ensure every person has a guaranteed minimum income sufficient to live life with dignity.
- What is the min/max? linking this to dignity.
- How to redistribute wealth- min wage or social welfare
- Trying to convince government- vote out.
- Society built on consumerism.
- How do we attract foreign business? And how do we tax this?
- Showing the benefits to society. E.g. From other countries were it is working. Sweden.
- Less social problems.
- Local taxes?
6. Democratic reform.
Enhance democratic participation by investing in the advocacy role of civil society organisations and in citizenship educations in schools.
- Agreement that democracy is the best way. Through the educational system.
- Agreement that point no. 1 is also very relevant here but that you can’t get to achieve no.1 without doing no.3 first….
- This is a long term policy plan and not a short term one.
- Be mindful of tokenism.
- Inequalities in the educational system.
The 6 groups felt that the following areas needed more focus within the document.
- Solid alternatives. People are afraid of change.
- Human rights.
- Accountability. Justice.